Andrew Field-Pickering is a freak all the way, as well as a busy man. Megalomaniac, compulsive, avid collector and unpredictable DJ, he produces music under the moniker of Maxmillion Dunbar and is part of the Beautiful Swimmers and Food For Animals projects. Furthermore, he is one of the head honchos of the Future Times label, he organises parties in his native Washington DC and writes a column about dance music called Heal Yourself And Move for The Fader. As said, a busy man. But the best thing is that this former punk, former skater and former hip-hopper does all that really well; his singles as Maxmillion Dunbar are a breath of fresh air and ooze personality, Beautiful Swimmers are guaranteed fun on the dancefloor and the Future Times imprint is one of the best things to happen to dance music in the last couple of months.
But our man wants more. After his acclaimed 12”s on Ramp, Max D has just released his debut album. It’s called “Cool Water” and it contains eight tracks that stress his particular vision of electronic music: weird moods, Roland rhythm boxes, strange voices, samples from various sources and a lot of feeling. Eight cuts on which he mixes everything he likes (from weird disco to open-minded hip-hop, from space boogie to psychedelic ambient, and from synthetic funk to Chicago house) to get to something new. Beyond eighties revisionism, beyond boogie, beyond slo-mo house, beyond everything. Difficult to classify, but very gratifying. You know the drill. For now, we can enjoy the glorious mix Dunbar has made for Playground. As if these were extended versions of his songs, his set features many of his influences through a selection of widely unknown tracks which, mixed with the skills of a master, have 40 minutes of pure danceable glory as a result. More than a freak, this guy is huge.
You come from a punk background. Can you explain the process that brought you from punk to hip hop, and from there to dance music?
To be real, it’s kind of just been a gradual vibe with all of my musical interests. I've just sought out records and been open. A lot of the punk / hip hop shit was natural, skate culture (while I sucked at skating) sort of brought them both together for me. Also, don’t know what it’s like in Europe, but hip hop was and is just ubiquitous here in the States, I had to freak with girls at school dances! Hip hop and being interested in samples certainly took me to dance music. Also just understanding where the influences were for more produced original beats like Dr. Dre, or southern rap, DJ Quik, shit like that. Like, “why do people rock this mosquito synth sound? And why does it sound so goooood?”
The tracks that you play and produce have a strange vibe. Is it a premeditated thing, or it's just that the music you happen to like has this freak component?
Well, more than anything we have an inside joke within the Future Times crew and with other DC DJs and heads about certain tracks being "strictly for the freaks". Ari from Swimmers used to sell vinyl on eBay and he would always drop, "THIS ONE IS STRICTLY 4 DA FREAAAKS!" at the end. But I do love the word “freaky” and it’s connotations for music. I’m not trying to make any regular shit, you know? Fuck that. Even though my music ends up kind of contemplative sometimes, it’s definitely for the contemplative FREAKS.
Why did you decide to found your own label? Was it to just release your own music or you already had the idea to release other producers stuff?
Starting Future Times seemed like a fun thing to do. I had some of the first Max tracks all done up and I wanted a little project to work on. After that was received so well and sold out so fast, I got real boosted and felt like FT was an outlet for music by myself and my friends and whoever else ends up in the Venn diagram with us. We're about to release our 7th 12” (“Dreaming Tiger / World Of Spirits”, by SLAVA, from NYC) and I'm loving it.
It seems like there's an edit fever nowadays. On the Future Times website there's several downloadable edits you’ve done. What moves you to want to do an edit of a certain track?
The ones I do personally, and the ones with Ari from Swimmers, all come from a DJ place: “I wanna DJ this cut but part of it sucks”, etc. My goal is to have a new tool for DJing, or, if it’s not quite a cut for parties, just make something new out of something old.
On the Future Times website there's a good collection of mp3s for people to download, too. It seems you're a hunter of rarities. How long have you been collecting records for and in what styles do you focus?
Future Times is more than just me. Mike from Protect-U runs it with me and we always rip weird tracks that we dig up for the site. Ari from Swimmers contributes too. We’re always on the hunt for records, and DC is a wonderful place to go digging. I am literally looking for cool shit in absolutely any genre, as long as it’s “for the freaks”.
You use your label website as a platform to reveal obscure tracks and to give away your own edits. In what ways do you think internet has been important in the way we can relate to music? Do you think everything about the music-internet dichotomy is positive or there are also negative aspects?
I find it a little frustrating (but mostly weird) when my Max album or FT 12"s gets leaked on those weird Russian blogs that seem to find and leak everything, but frankly I'm also in awe of it. We are not big time dudes or whatever so when someone finds and shares an mp3, I kind of feel like it’s cool, it means people are spreading the word in their own way. Buy our shit though! I think the internet has been amazing in just opening people up to an amazing amount of music, art and movies. More so than anything, it’s caused people to take in a lot of wonderful stuff. And that of course rules.
Can you describe a typical Future Times party? Is there a strong dance music scene in DC?
There is a lot of DJ culture in DC, and some of it is not my thang, but for the most part DC is tight for partying. People are open here, when we do our party The Whale, we really play whatever we want and the people there are ready for it, and they go for it. A typical FT party would be a lot of dancing in the booth and on the dance floor, you'll probably hear a few amazing tracks that you never heard before, mixed well by the Swimmers, or our boys Mondo & C Rob. Anybody visiting the area should definitely seek us out!
Labels like People's Potential Unlimited are doing a great job reissuing lost boogie, funk and disco tracks, but on the other hand there's also a lot of bad-sounding pirate reissues. How do you feel about the whole re-releasing movement?
I certainly prefer re-issues that are authorized and legit, but sometimes the flow of the music and the scene dictates that things get pushed out of obscurity without permission. I have no feelings of sadness for collectors who are pissed, like “I can't believe that got reissued! My copy isn't worth much anymore!” That shit is corny. People's Potential is one of the best record labels in the history of the world (DC Baby!).
What do you think about it the Boogie revival of the last two years? Do you think it's just another trend people will get bored of, or on the contrary is Boogie here to stay?
It depends on the producers. People who are using the boogie for the freaky forces of good will keep it alive. Corny people hopping on some bandwagon will kill it. So far the shit is cool though. Like that ARP 101 record, Eglo stuff... Shit is so good. I worry when people get too excited about anything. The good shit is going be there forever. Boogie or noise.
How and where did you record the mix, and what's the idea behind it? Is it similar to a typical Max D DJ set in a club?
Recorded it at home, basically on CD-Js, with a little collage action done on Ableton. A Max set in a club would have less rainforest noises and breaks, but for web mixes I usually try to give something that people can jam to in a lot of different scenarios. In a club I would probably go more for the throat. I like to perform live mostly though, like play and warp my own jams together as a “set” of music.
What are your immediate future plans?
I’m coming to the UK in November for a release party and some radio shows – so more details of that soon. I’m doing some remixes with Beautiful Swimmers right now, and working on some upcoming Max tracks. In personal news, I just got a puppy, so I got to teach that fool how to live right!
1. Nas feat. AZ: “The Flyest (acapella)”
2. Oneohtrix Point Never: “Computer Vision”
3. P.U.D.G.E.: “AwnMyDawn”
4. Chris Hinze: “African Rapness (12" Mix)”
5. Prana People: “Wishful Thinking”
6. Maxmillion Dunbar: “???”
7. Echoes Of Nature: “Rain With Pygmy Owl”
8. Shake: “Arise”
9. Slava: “World Of Spirits”
10. Maxmillion Dunbar: “????”
11. The Blessings: “Keith Sweats”
12. Sheer Taft: “Cascades”
13. Kwanzaa Posse: “Wicked Funk (Unreleased Mix)”
14. William Aura: “Dream Dancer”
15. Lil Keke: “Ballin In The Mix (w/ Max loops)”
16. Bahamadia: “Tru Honey Buns”
17. African Rain Forest CD
18. Bahamadia: “Uknowhowwedo (acapella)”
19. Circus Underwater: “Surface Of The Water”
If you’re into aTelecine because of Sasha Grey’s involvement, we have bad news: she’s no longer part of the band. Ex par...
Once a member of the influential Anti-Social crew and now full-time Deep Medi artist, V.I.V.E.K. lives in a permanent st...
Living in the Reunion Island for almost a year, Jazzanova’s Alex Barck may seem to be living in Paradise. But he doesn’t...
The mysterious Arandel gives us “Neige”, his homage to Christmas with tons of traditional songs arranged in an electroni...
Johan Agebjörn of Sally Shapiro fame gives us a big dose of his passion for eighties synthetic disco and previews us an ...
Active for ten years in the depths of the underground, and now ‘discovered’ by Scratcha DVA for his brand new DVA Music ...
Sam XL, the British expat rooted in the LA bass underground, shows us the history and the sound of the huge Pure Filth S...
Next week, the Scotish duo known as Clouds will drop his new smashing techno 12” for the Turbo label, called “Tannhauser...